Real Gas Effects in Hypersonic Re-entry Flight

Eleanor Rita Webb


Hypersonic research continues to grow in importance as the demand for controlled high speed flight continues in a variety of applications. When objects travel at hypersonic speeds through the atmosphere of a planet, real gas effects significantly alter certain flight characteristics. This literature review provides an overview of the current understanding of real gas effects on re-entry flight. The specific example of the ST-1 shuttle flight will be covered to demonstrate the influence of real gases on design and control. Some of the current CFD options and their limitations for predicting real gas re-entry flow will also be summarised. Several research activities are also summarised and the areas for improved knowledge of hypersonic re-entry flow discussed.

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